Dalton State Hosts Author Terry Kay At Annual Book Festival

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Book lovers are invited to hear Georgia author Terry Kay speak on his “one important book,” The Book of Marie, Wednesday, April 17, at Dalton State’s fourth annual Book Festival.

“We are so proud to welcome Terry Kay to our book festival," said Lydia Knight, library director.  "It is a joy to have someone who is a shining example of Southern literary excellence and a true ‘homegrown’ author from Georgia."

The Book Festival is hosted by Dalton State’s Roberts Library with support from the Student Activities Committee and Dalton State Foundation and is held during National Library Week to promote literacy and a lifelong love of reading.

"I believe I’ve written one important book –The Book of Marie—because it deals with a view of the civil rights movement seldom acknowledged: how young white southerners were affected by the social changes of the time,” Mr. Kay said.

The novel, published in 2007, sensitively explores the lives of young Georgians from the fictional town of Overton from the time of their high school prom in 1955 to their 50th class reunion in 2005 and the impact of time and social change on their attitudes and long held truths.  

Mr. Kay has particular interest in the ways in which young white southerners were affected by the Civil Rights Movement. “To me, that grand song ‘We Shall Overcome’ related to young whites–and I was one of them–much as it did to the black community,” Mr. Kay said. “We had to overcome a history of perceived segregationist traditions and that often meant conflict with friends, family, and community.” 

Fifteen copies of The Book of Marie have been donated to the Roberts Library and are available for check out by campus and community members who wish to read the book before Mr. Kay’s appearance at the Book Festival. 

“I have read and thoroughly enjoyed the book and I believe it is a worthy contribution to current day dialogue regarding civility, tolerance, and diversity,” Ms. Knight said. Community members wishing to check books out of Roberts Library need to provide a valid driver’s license and reside in one of the 10 counties in the Dalton State service area, she said.

Mr. Kay was inducted into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame in 2006 and received the Georgia Writers Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011. He is probably best known for his 1990 signature novel, To Dance With the White Dog, considered to be a Southern literary classic and the work which established him as one of the region’s foremost writers. The novel, presented as a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie in 1993, tells the story of an octogenarian and a mysterious white dog that comes to live with him following the death of his wife of 57 years. The love story was inspired by Mr. Kay’s own parents.

He has authored numerous other books, stories, and essays.  He has written for television, has served as a theatre critic, and hosted “The Southern Voice,” a PBS series on Southern literature.  In addition, he has taught as a visiting lecturer at Emory University and twice directed Emory’s summer creative writing program.  

Mr. Kay has been married for 52 years and has four children, 10 grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. He and his wife live in Athens.

Mr. Kay will speak on writing The Book of Marie in two programs, both open to the public, on April 17. Programs will be held in room 105 on the lower level of The James E Brown Center beginning at 12:30 and 6:30 p.m.

The Dalton State Book Festival “Homegrown” has celebrated the literary works of regional authors the past four years, Ms. Knight said, noting that the Festival is held each year during National Library Week. 

The program is free and open to the public; for more information, contact Roberts Library at 706.272-4575. 

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